Invoking some food envy

Thought I’d invoke a little food envy with pics from my dinner last night at Tatsumi. I have to admit it was really embarrassing being “that person” taking photos of my food with my DSLR, but doesn’t it all look so pretty?? 🙂

Grilled prawns, wasabi aioli, roasted pumpkin and chorizo entree. Photo: Tao Lin

Grilled prawns, wasabi aioli, roasted pumpkin and chorizo entree. Photo: Tao Lin

Beef tataki. Photo: Tao Lin

Beef tataki. Photo: Tao Lin


Assorted nigiri. Photo: Tao Lin

Assorted nigiri. Photo: Tao Lin

Green tea fondant. Photo: Tao Lin

Green tea fondant. Photo: Tao Lin

Let’s talk green tea and dessert

Last night I went out with Andrew and my parents to a relatively new Japanese restaurant, Tatsumi Modern Japanese Cuisine & Bar, to celebrate my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. My dad’s pockets were considerably lighter after the meal but the food, service and surroundings were really well worth it.

Everything we had was fantastic, from the beef tataki entree to the green tea fondant. Yes, green tea. Fondant.

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

Before booking at Tatsumi I read a lot of reviews about the restaurant and I remember one person writing that the green tea fondant was amazing, which got me all excited – so much so that I turned a blind eye to the black sesame creme brulee (if you don’t already know, creme brulee is my most favourite dessert of all time). By the way, for anyone living or visiting Auckland, Frasers has one of the best creme brulee (brulees?) I’ve had in New Zealand. And I’ve had creme brulee in Paris. Just sayin’ 😉

I digress, back to green tea. When I think about it, it is a bit strange that green tea isn’t meant to be drunk with milk but when you put it in something like ice cream, it’s pretty much just serving up cold green tea with milk and a lot of sugar.

I’ve seen and heard a lot of people cringe and exclaim, “EW!” when they hear about green tea being used in dessert. Each to their own but personally, I don’t understand what the disgust it all about. Maybe it’s the unappealing colour? The taste? I’m an avid green tea drinker though, so it might be the same the other way around when someone makes Earl Grey ice cream? Actually, that doesn’t sound so bad either…:)

The only dessert I’ve tried making with green tea is a green tea panna cotta, which failed a bit because I used too much setting agent but the flavour was pretty spot on. Other recipes using green tea:

For a full blog of recipes using green tea visit Cooking with Japanese Green Tea. Okay so I admit, matcha mashed potatoes does sound a little bit off but who knows, it might be surprisingly good??

Finally, I just came across matcha Kit Kat; apparently it’s only available in Japan during cherry blossom season. I was already dying to go to Japan during that time of year and now, the desire has been heightened too-many-fold.

In other, non-green tea related news, the staff at Tatsumi were very kind in presenting my parents with a special message for dessert (black sesame creme brulee):

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

A huge thanks to all the staff for making the night special. I ❤ Japanese!

Photos of food and such

I’m one of those weird and annoying people who loves to take several photos of their food from as many different angles as possible before finally eating it – I blog about food so what do you expect?? People like me get mocked and ridiculed everywhere in society for this behaviour and I’m sure someone, somewhere has written about how this is evidence of some sort of personality disorder/evidence of narcissism (aren’t we all a little bit narcissistic?). But, I don’t actually care because I love it: I love food, I love taking photos of food and I love showing it all off.

I call these photos: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Because, well, they are 🙂

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

Some sort of egg thing. Pretty much started with fried eggs but decided I didn’t want fried eggs anymore so scrambled them up instead.

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

One of my absolute favourite things to eat: udon noodle soup. It’s incredibly easy to make as well. Water, stock, noodles, soy bean paste, spring onions, done. If you really wanted to make it fancy you could even cook up some tofu and chuck that in there too.

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

Teriyaki beef strips and capsicum. Yeah, I like Japanese food.

Teriyaki chicken norimaki

There is perhaps nothing more synonymous with Japanese food than sushi and today, with the help of some online recipes and my Australian Women’s Weekly Cooking School cookbook, I managed to pull off, in a relatively painless fashion, teriyaki chicken norimaki, or sushi rolls.

My previous post covered the sushi rice aspect of this recipe and I found a very easy and tasty teriyaki sauce recipe here. The one thing I did different to the recipe was that I omitted the ginger but it still tasted fantastic.

Once the chicken was done and I had the rice covered with a wet cloth ready to be used, I went on to carve up some cucumber and avocado before starting on the sushi rolls.

Now, this was the first time that I had made sushi rolls and I ended up really over-filling the first one:

Sushi 1

Sushi 2

Being the stubborn person that I am though, I managed to squeeze it all together!

I followed the method from my cookbook which instructs, as follows:

Add rice vinegar to medium bowl of cold water. Place one nori sheet, shiny-side down, lengthways across bamboo mat about 2cm from edge of mat closest to you. Dip fingers of one hand into bowl of vinegared water, shake off excess; pick up a third of the rice, place across centre of nori sheet…

…working from left to right, gently rake rice evenly over nori, leaving 2cm strip on far side of nori uncovered. Build up rice in front of uncovered strip to form a mound to keep filling in place.

Next step was placing ingredients into the centre of the rice and then the instructions for rolling:

Starting with edge closest to you, pick up mat using thumb and forefingers of both hands; use remaining fingers to hold filling in place as you roll mat away from you. Roll forward, pressing gently but tightly, wrapping nori around rice and filling.

At times I found it really fiddly trying to hold in all the filling and sometimes the end of the nori didn’t stick but somehow I managed to get it all together! Once all the rolling was done, I cut them up as thick, or as thin, as I wanted and served with light soy sauce, wasabi paste and pickled ginger.

Sushi 4


Cheap Eats – Taniya Udon in Ningyocho 人形町の谷や

Just looking at this makes my mouth water. Udon noodle soup is by far my Number One preference every time I go to a Japanese restaurant. Yum.

Food Sake Tokyo

Udon is a dish we often eat at home for lunch. Udon noodles are sold in the supermarket as dried noodles that need to be boiled and rehydrated or fresh (and also frozen) that just needs to be blanched in hot water. While both of these versions are fine for a simple meal at home, there is nothing that compares to freshly made udon noodles at a restaurant that also makes an excellent broth that is served with the noodles.

Taniya in the historic district of Ningyocho is one of these places. Walking by on the street that leads up to the famous Suitengumae shrine it is hard to miss the handsome chef in the window rolling out the udon dough and then cutting it with a large knife. The style of udon noodles here are from the Sanuki region of Kagawa prefecture.

Tempura udon is one of my favorites…

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